No. 643
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 23, 2024

She Had a High Old Time.

August 13, 2013
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 "The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan MandijnWelcome to this week's Link Dump!  As you can see, the Strange Company Art Department is busy with the illustrations for next week's posts.The working lads of Whitechapel, circa 1900.A human leg has been found on the New York subways, and I'm betting that's not the worst thing you'd find there.A brief history of condensed milk.The
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Strange Company - 2/23/2024
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HE DUEL IN ELLEN'S HONOR. Soapy Smith’s grandmotherOn Wednesday, August 9, 1820, an argument between 17-year-old, James Bowe Boisseau (1802-1820) and Robert C. Adams (unknown-1820) vying for the attention of 18-year-old Ellen Stimpson Peniston (1802-1860), took a terrible turn. The happy party in her honor took a tragic turn when the competition for Ellen’s affections ended in a deadly duel,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 1/10/2024
Entering the Wall Street IRT subway station on Lower Broadway at Trinity Church can feel like going into a time warp. That’s because of the cast iron hoods that cover the stairwell as you descend underground. Decorated in a leaf pattern, the curved hoods date back to the station’s 1905 opening. The hoods mesh well […]
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Ephemeral New York - 2/19/2024
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
A postmortem examination revealed that Katie Dugan was four months pregnant when her body was found beaten and slashed in an empty field in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1892. A two-year investigation led police to believe that Albert Stout, Katie’s former employer, was her killer and the father of her unborn child. But Stout was a prominent, well-connected businessman, and despite evidence that he
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Murder By Gaslight - 2/17/2024
Included in yesterday’s trip to Fall River was a stop at Miss Lizzie’s Coffee shop and a visit to the cellar to see the scene of the tragic demise of the second Mrs. Lawdwick Borden and two of the three little children in 1848. I have been writing about this sad tale since 2010 and had made a previous trip to the cellar some years ago but was unable to get to the spot where the incident occured to get a clear photograph.  The tale of Eliza Borden is a very sad, but not uncommon story of post partum depression with a heartrending end. You feel this as you stand in the dark space behind the chimney where Eliza ended her life with a straight razor after dropping 6 month old Holder and his 3 year old sister Eliza Ann into the cellar cistern. Over the years I have found other similar cases, often involving wells and cisterns, and drownings of children followed by suicides of the mothers. These photos show the chimney, cistern pipe, back wall, dirt and brick floor, original floorboards forming the cellar ceiling and what appears to be an original door. To be in the place where this happened is a sobering experience. My thanks to Joe Pereira for allowing us to see and record the place where this sad occurrence unfolded in 1848. R.I.P. Holder, Eliza and Eliza Ann Borden. Visit our Articles section above for more on this story. The coffee shop has won its suit to retain its name and has plans to expand into the shop next door and extend its menu in the near future.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 2/12/2024
Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately … Continue reading
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
A Bride’s Toggery. | First Automobile in Manhattan.

She Had a High Old Time.

She had a high old time.

Josephine Miller, a well-known actress, enjoys the saintly quarters of the Rev. Julian Smyth, Boston Highlands. [more]

An Actress Accused of Stealing.

Josephine Miller, an amateur actress and public reader of high reputation, was arrested the afternoon of Oct. 4 on the charge of stealing property from the residence of the Rev. Julian Smyth, pastor of the Church of the New Jerusalem, at Boston Highlands. When Mr. Smyth made preparations to start on his summer vacation in June, he let his residence, at 26 Montrose street, to Miss Miller. On Sept. 1 Mr. Smyth and his family returned home and found their house vacated and over $200 worth of bric-a-brac, house furnishings, etc., missing. There were dozens of empty wine bottles left behind, and soon bills came in for several cases of champagne, which had been charged to the clergyman. He made inquiries of his neighbors and the police and learned that the house had been every night the scene of the wildest revelry, which lasted usually until sunrise.

The police hadn’t interfered because the place had been the resort of the best known bloods about town. Mr. Smyth was scandalized and caused the arrest of his former tenant.

Inspectors Burke and Robbinson tried every means to ascertain where Miss Miller was stopping, but not until this morning did they learn that she was living in the Hotel Albemarle, on Columbus avenue. They went to her apartments, and there found a considerable part of the stolen property. More of the property was found stored away in the cellar of the hotel and at the Boston Storage company’s building on the Back Bay. When questioned at police headquarters, Miss Miller said that she did not intend to steal the property, but that it was packed up by mistake.

Miss Miller is a strikingly handsome young woman of about twenty-five years with dark hair and eyes. When taken to police headquarters she was attired in an elegant costume. She has appeared in many of the entertainments given throughout New England as a reader, and in “Pygmalion and Galatea” and “Love a Rainstorm.”


Reprinted from: The National Police Gazette, Oct. 22, 1887.